A day to remember family

Jadhav family over the years

Nine years ago today, Dad died in a car accident. I’ve obviously had a long time to grapple with that; life continues, some memories don’t fade, teachings and spirit live on, legacies remain.

But so does a bit of sadness. For catharsis, I turn to this photo of photos that tracks so much of the Indian side of my family. The collage was created for my grandparents in India; I digitized it when I stayed with them during my semester of backpacking around India in 2004.

Dadaji passed away in 2005; dadiji died in August. Since the photo was made an uncle also died (another passed away more than two decades ago).

The large-file, high-res version is linked above. Both grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, Dad, Mom, Anna and I all feature in different snaps and clicks, to use the Indian parlance.

This indeed is where one half of me originated.

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My favorite weed

Invasive pest

Lantana, a plant I remember my father carefully cultivating when I was a child, is actually considered a weed and pest in many parts of India. There are entire fields claimed by the voracious, scrubby plant.

It seems able to sprout anywhere on the in the tropical regions of the subcontinent. As it did here in this gully in Pune, all but overlooked.

It’s surely some part nostalgia, but I find it beautiful. And I will grow it in our terrace garden one day.

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Floral nostalgia in Pondicherry

My favorite flower

When I was a child, my father tried, with some limited success, to grow plants from his childhood in India. And so it was that bougainvillea became one of my favorite flowers. We had a small potted plant with deep red leaves, but in India (and many other semi-tropical climates) they grow in many shades and as big as small trees.

The above comes from a warm street in Pondicherry.

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Tibetan kitchen is a family affair

Our tour of Darjeeling was snared by a regular road closure that trapped us in a mountain traffic jam. Perfect Indian excuse for a lunch break.

We ventured to a small Tibetan restaurant where we proceeded to devour steamed vegetable momos and aloo parathas and sweet lemon tea. The whole operation was run out of a cramped kitchen (above) where mom and daughters molded momos (also below) and rolled bread.

Outside, the charismatic papa heckled customers (all of us), refused to serve them tea before lunch (me) and hollered ever-growing food orders (ours) through the door. Pops was absolutely delightful, laughed at my Hindi, and enthusiastically explained (still in Hindi) how to make his lemon tea.

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The day after Thanksgiving means one thing…

christmas

Ready to decorate; no place to do so

…Christmas decorations! (And possibly lamenting how much food you ate. And/or more eating.)

As far back as I can remember, the last Friday in November in the Jadhav household marked the official start of the holiday season; we hauled boxes of ornaments and garland and lights and tinsel and nutcrackers and more out of the basement or down from attic. We’d play vinyl from a boxed set of Christmas music almost non-stop. At the end of the day, when the decorating was either finished or on hold (some years it took all weekend), we’d sip egg nog from old mugs.

I have found a store here in Delhi at Khan Market that caters to expats and has decorations galore (photo above). But I’m staying temporarily in a guesthouse. And in 10 days, I start traveling and will be on the move until after the New Year. As much as I want to deck the halls, I have little opportunity to do so.

I’ll make do with this blog.

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